Make It Or Break It: If Only…

We watch Emily’s booking and see her sitting sadly in jail. She makes a call to someone “out of the blue” and it turns out to be Razor. He’s baaack. Razor can’t get her released because Emily’s a minor and must be released to a legal guardian. On a list of things a police station would never do: bring the person in jail out into the hall to chat with another teenager (uncuffed at that). In rushes Chloe, who couldn’t be reached. She says she was working on an emergency response line and had to turn her cell off. What were you thinking Emily? I couldn’t reach you and Brian needed his meds, what was I supposed to do? (Call his doctor, call the insurance company, call an ambulance–just off the top of my head…) Razor wisely suggests taking things outside (so she doesn’t incriminate herself more?). Have I mentioned that Razor has become something of a smug snot? I REALLY dislike him.

Kayley is packing (what for?_ when her mom brings her some food. Ronnie says she barely touched her dinner, she must be starving. So Kaylie points out that she’s awesome and doing awesome things so does that sound like undernourished? Ronnie can’t see any way to argue with that. (Really Ronnie, falling for that deflection? Cal Lightman would be very disappointed in you.)

Payson tells Kim she’s freaked and embarrassed and how can she face Sasha after she kissed him? (And really Payson, don’t you know that you should always let the guy initiate the kissing, especially when he’s your coach? Though I suppose she wouldn’t since what experience does she have with guys?) Kim says Sasha is a well adjusted man and will handle this in the best possible way. He called Kim immediately. She’s told no one else. Payson insists her crush is over, even though they don’t disappear over night. Payson let herself get caught up in the stupid moment. Kim thinks she will look back and laugh. Payson doubts it. If anyone finds out, she will die.

Lauren is dropped off at the Rock early. She seems pissed, but Steve is taking no risks, he will be chaperoning her everywhere. Why because you are suddenly concerned with being a good father? Lauren says letting Summer to break up with him ruined her life because she almost had a mother. She can’t give up. Inside is the practice cam and you know where this is going…She sees the kiss and takes the tape. What is she cooking up now?

Lauren, Kaylie, and Emily stand around the beam while everyone else is actually rehearsing. Lauren beams about Chloe being dumped by Steve (wasn’t she not so proud last we saw her?) and Emily isn’t in the mood to deal with her crap. Kaylie actually gets the best line here: “So do you rehearse these little evil performances or do they just come to you on the spot?” (Kaylie, you just went up a little in my regard for you.) Lauren finds herself alone.

Sasha and Payson awkwardly dance around each other.

Kim and Sasha discuss the situation. Address it, give her space? They decide to talk as a group. Summer interrupts to say she’s done a poll and sees that she Kim and Steve are close. They need to win, so Summer has an idea. Get Alex Cruz’s endorsement. He’ll carry a lot of weight. Kim would rather cover herself in paper cuts and cover herself in lemon juice than schmooze Alex Cruz, which is why Kim is so awesome.

Kaylie does her beam routine and Sasha notices her fatigue. (It’s taken you long enough, but I suppose symptoms take time and he isn’t around when she eats.) He tells her she needs to stop losing weight. She doesn’t need the move to win. Kaylie says Ellen Beals thinks everything she’s doing is perfect. And there she goes down in my regards when she gets rude to Sasha.

A woman shows up at the Tanner residence with a letter to Lauren. It’s Leslie, Lauren’s mom. She was hoping Lauren would be home, she has a right to see her daughter. Steve kept her from nationals with her threats. She won’t be scared away. Steve points out that there’s a restraining order against her and her will send her to jail if she does. He says he’s already given her a second chance and she failed then. Leslie begs, she doesn’t want to wait until Lauren is 18, that’s two years of wondering and hating. Leslie says he’ll regret it and she knows what it feels like. (I actually feel for both sides, I kind of wish we knew more about that backstory so we could connect to it more.)

Chloe tactlessly says Emily’s court date is coming. Emily is all panicky. Everything is screwed up, she’s such a loser. And then Damon shows up. She’s seems happy and they kiss (once away from the gym). (He’s wearing skinny jeans?) Damon reveals that he got a record deal. He records in ten days but he wanted to celebrate with her. They’re both on the way to the top of the world, he says. And Emily suddenly becomes less happy.

Payson doesn’t want to talk about it but Sasha wants to clear the air. Payson insists she has no feelings and just wants to get on with her training. That’s what Sasha wants. So, we’re all in agreement. Good.

Lauren tells Summer Steve is free so they can get together like old times. Summer reveals that she’s seeing someone else. Lauren insists on a name. Lauren thinks she’s lying so Summer says it’s Sasha. Lauren is furious, she was almost her mother, that’s wrong. Summer points out she’s not her mother. Lauren thinks Summer lied about being there for her and Sasha isn’t Christian and he’s keeping her from being her mother. Leslie is outside in her car and sees Lauren crying. Leslie starts crying too. She tries to get ahold of herself and plans to go talk to Lauren but before she can Steve comes out and the opportunity is lost. Leslie starts crying again (this is a really great story line and I wish ABC Family wasn’t about to ruin it, as you know it will).

Steve calls Chloe because it would have been their four month anniversary. He leaves a message about how this is all for the best. Meanwhile Kim puts on some skimpy outfit with the name tag Bambi (waitress at a sleazy place, bartender, stripper?). She tells her kids she’s working at an office and is making good money. She’s going to make sure all works out.

Emily and Razor talk at the Shack. I like how Emily pretends that last time she saw Damon everything was going well for her. Wasn’t the last time when she couldn’t compete because she broke the rules? Razor summarizes that Emily doesn’t feel good enough for Damon. She begs him not to tell Damon about her failures. She doesn’t want to bring him down.

Lauren’s got her scheming face on. She edits the video so the part with Sasha pushing Payson away isn’t there. Then she sends the video to Ellen Beals with a note “Sasha isn’t the man everyone thinks he is.” Not caring that she may ruin Payson, she sends it off. Lauren, couldn’t you just blackmail Sasha or something? Why bring evil Ellen into it?

Kaylie is working out when Sasha comes in with her family. He’s worried about her weight. Alex doesn’t think Sasha’s fears are warranted but he has her weigh in. She shows up as 106, right in her target range. When everyone leave though, we see that Kaylie was wearing weights on her thighs, which means she really weighs 96. I’ve seen girls weigh 96, she doesn’t look like she weighs that little, but that’s fair since it would mean she would actually have to be unhealthy in real life.

Emily is all distracted at their date and Damon notices. She tells the truth and Damon doesn’t see why she didn’t take the money. So Emily says Razor gets it. (Emily, I already don’t like you. I don’t even like Damon, and yet, you’ve made me feel bad for him.) She yells at him about showing up when they weren’t supposed to see each other for two years. Maybe she just needs space. Is anything else going on? he asks. She avoids and walks out instead.

Payson and Sasha work on floor and he tells her to fully extend her arms but when he goes to demonstrate he pulls back awkwardly. He knows he’s made a mistake there but she runs out anyway. He goes outside to talk to her. She thinks she’s ruined everything. Sasha brings up his coach (not his dad, who got upset when he won the gold for England instead of Romania) who was the most important person in his life. He loved his coach who taught him what it meant to be an athlete. If he was a girl, he’d have tried to kiss her too. A coach and his athlete is intense and intimate and confusing and complicated. They can overcome it, as long as they communicate and trust. He trusts Payson. She trusts him too. See, no ruining here.

Alex isn’t sure he’s pro-Sasha. Kim says she will listen to all sides, she wants to do what is best for ALL girls.

Razor sees that Emily’s upset and she tells him that Damon doesn’t understand her. He points out that Emily and Damon have the same situation in reverse. She insists she can’t tell him about her jail time. She doesn’t want to feel small in front of him. Razor says he’ll help her feel big. Food fight! Damon sees.

The great parent debate. Steve compares Sasha to Hitler. He wants to take control of the gym. The parents seem not thrilled by this. Kim just says Sasha is a great coach but she’ll listen to everyone’s concerns about Sasha or otherwise. She’s a mom. The parents seem to like this more. Alex, Ronnie, and Chloe all endorse Kim before the vote. But just when it seems the vote is clinched, in comes Ellen Beals with some information for the parents about their coach and his inappropriate conduct. She has clear evidence that she pretends to not want to reveal. Of course, Kim insists she reveal it since they deserve to know what it is. We all know where this is going…”You leave me no choice…” She holds up a picture of Payson kissing Sasha for everyone. Kim tries to explain but it doesn’t come off well (especially when Ellen continues to twist her words–she basically says Kim is so invested in Payson’s success that she is willing to turn a blind eye). Steve calls for the vote. Once a president is elected the board can deal with the matter.

Damon mopes and Razor comes to talk to him. Damon wants to know what’s going on with her. Razor says she needs fun with all the pressure she’s under. (I’m sure this is said solely out of concern for her.)

Payson is surprised to hear that Steve won. (She’s not wearing purple! Though she is folding a purple shirt.) Kim tells her what Ellen did. Payson figures it out right away and “wants to die.”

Steve and Lauren discuss their success. He thinks he’d have won even without it (right…) and plans to get rid of Sasha asap. Lauren thinks Summer will break up with him and now they can get back together. (Lauren, keep dreaming.) My question is why anyone would ever let him have any power at the Rock after almost destroying it not too long ago. Father-daughter dinner to celebrate? She goes to get changed when he gets a call about Leslie.

Ronnie comes into Kaylie’s room and finds her sleeping. She spots Kaylie’s stash of thrown away food.

Emily and Damon talk (isn’t it incredible that with a possible interesting storyline about Emily we instead get stuck with her love fest?) about how they shouldn’t see each other right now. He doesn’t want her to be lonely while he gives her space so if she wants to be…well, they’re both free. He thinks she’s been acting weird because she’s into Razor. He says it’s cool, so he’s leaving Boulder tonight. Thank you for the wake up call. And Emily, obsessed with her pride, doesn’t correct him or stop him and instead just cries (which she does not look good doing).

Steve looks distraught and has to break news to Lauren. Leslie was in a car accident, through no fault of her own, and she was killed. Lauren seems a little upset, but instead she says that she feels nothing. Clearly her mother didn’t love her, she stood her up at nationals, she didn’t want to see her. So why should she care? She was already dead to her? (Cassie Scerbo, this is some of your best acting yet.) So now can we please go to dinner?

Summer and Sasha talk about Payson’s career and how he won’t let Ellen ruin it. Payson will be devastated. Why didn’t he tell Summer? He wanted to protect her privacy. Sasha insists the facts will win out. Payson is strong. You’re right, Payson is strong.

Payson is crying in bed.

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Brothers and Sisters

This the newest show I’ve picked up, courtesy of my college roomie, and I’m absolutely loving it.

Quick summary: Follow a close family as they try to deal with the ups and downs of their lives and relationships.

What I love about this show, is the way even though so many things happen to the family, you don’t feel like it’s just drama for drama’s sake. Many of the incidents logically leads to another (sort of) so it doesn’t feel like it’s completely out of nowhere. The family dynamic is probably the best I’ve ever see on TV (hysterical, ridiculous, over the top, excellent) and the show really thrives when it revolves around the family issues.

The Family and What I Think of Them (spoiler warnings):

    Nora– starting to like her, even if her every storyline is something being kept from her until she finds out and gets angry. Sally Fields is pretty good. I can’t believe how nice and open she is to Rebecca, it’s so weird.
    Sal– I’m still missing who he is, like how he came to be Nora’s great protector and how he interacts with the family. I like him but I want more.
    Sarah– I don’t know what it is about Sarah that I like, other than she’s the most human feeling. Her treatment of Holly is kind of awful but kind of exactly what you expect of someone in her situation (and it’s sort of shocking that everyone else is so much more fine with her). Her relationship with Joe is sad–that therapy session where Joe turned to the therapist and was like “why aren’t you helping!” and then the session with just her and the therapist. I also find the Nora-Sarah dynamic interesting, how she took her anger out on her and expects more from her. (It does kind of make sense that Sarah’s the oldest.)
    Tommy– the story about getting his brothers to donate is weird and it would be nice to delve more into the whole sterile issue (since for most men that feels like a threat to their manhood), they definitely could do more with him but I think they did a bit of a good job with the whole “did my father believe in me or not” issue. And the actually episode where they had a baby was excellently sad.
    Kevin– I’m just okay with him, I’ve never been a fan of a character whose entire storyline basically relies on love interest issues, which is how I feel about Kevin. He’s gay and yet though he says he’s felt like he was on the outside in his life, we never see any examples of it.
    Kitty– even less interesting than Kevin to me. Her story in the beginning with her dynamic with Nora was interesting but now it’s all love issues with the Senator and nothing else. I’m also just no t a fan of Callista Flockhart so I’m not loving it, but I do like her dynamic with Nora and with Rebecca.
    Justin– the rehab issue is interesting and I’m sad about Tyler. He’s supposed to go back to the army in six months so I’m curious to see what happens then. Also that moment with him helping Paige was so awesome. He’s so much younger than the rest of the family so it would be nice to see a bit more about that. (Like was he an accident or something?)
    Holly– pushing herself into an active role into the company is ridiculous and every thing she does is so inappropriate. How can she possibly expect people to just be okay with her and treat her nicely when her very presence is a reminder of all the lies their father told and committed? But it’s interesting anyway, so I’m not sorry about it.
    Rebecca– I like the conversation she had with her mom where she points out how much she’s missed out on and I think her dynamic with the family is interesting. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I feel about her specifically, but I like the drama that happens around her.

I’m only starting season two but so far, everything has been really good and I have not found myself disappointed. My one remaining question: What is the order and age difference between the family?

General Recaps

Pretty Little Liars– This has definitely taken the spot of show of the summer. It’s one of those oddly addictive shows where you can’t help but keep watching. A part of me was really into it, wanting to know who A was (we never actually saw Allison’s body, so there’s every possibility A is her) and the other part was frustrated. For one thing, the show was suffering from the “awful main character” syndrome that seems to be an issue with a number of ABC Family show–Amy of Secret Life, Emily of MIOBI. I find Aria’s entire story utterly uninteresting. Her parents are going through a pretty awful divorce and all she can think about and be upset about is the teacher she’s obsessed with. The other big issue I had is the fact that the actresses are fairly awful. But I do like Hannah and to a slightly lesser extent Emily and the tension building from episode to episode was well done, even if not every individual plot line was.

Huge– I might only like this because I like Nikki Blonsky, but I’ve enjoyed this show (and I think Blonsky will be singing this week!!!). Not the best show of summer, but not bad either. I particularly like the most recent bit of information about Will’s past, though the one character I’d really like to see more about is Shay. We’ve only learned a little about her and she’s such a crazy character that I want to know more about where she’s coming from.

Melissa and Joey– Entertainment Weekly summed this show up perfectly. It’s like being in an episode of “I Love The Nineties.” The show is completely formulaic and not particularly surprising or funny. ABC Family doesn’t seem to do half hour comedies well and this show surprised me considering how well their one hour teen dramas are doing. It just didn’t seem to fit. My friend says they’re trying to capitalize on the people who liked the movie Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence starred in and also perhaps target the nostalgic twenty-somethings who watch the channel and then pretend not to. I get the strategy, but the show just doesn’t cut it.

Royal Pains– This show has sort of hit a plateau, which isn’t to say it’s bad, but only to say it hasn’t gotten any better. I’ll be honest and say that I like Dr. Emily Peck as well as Paige, though both characters interrupt the main character romances that were set up in season one (you know, the will they won’t they that was Ross and Rachel but is now Hank and Jill, Divya and Evan). I like how Evan’s growing up somewhat and I find Hank to be a little too perfect. I’d like to see more facets of his personality beyond “hi, I’m perfect.”

Covert Affairs– It’s like Alias without the mythology stuff (thankfully, because despite my like for Lost and its mythology, the Alias stuff just didn’t stick for me). I kind of like it, though I am hoping for the show to step back for the formulaic stuff and look more at the bigger story (specifically, Annie’s love interest). Other things I’d like to see: Auggie’s action days (the recent episode with the girl he liked was pretty great), a female for Perabo to play off of (maybe a rival spy), more about Annie’s family, and more depth into the characters.

Drop Dead Diva– This show continues to surprise me. How many different story lines can you come up with about a dead person who is living in someone else’s body? It turns out, a lot of them. It may not be the best quality show out there, but it continue to churn out interesting, albeit preposterous, episodes. (Maybe a bit more insight into characters like Kim and Fred would be nice.)

Project Runway– This is quite the season. I’m not sure if or how the extended format affects things or even helps things, but I’m not complaining either. This season is a pretty good one. I think there are a few really talented designers, though there are others that are just ridiculous (the diaper shorts?). The first episode was ridiculous with its “you’re not on the show yet” challenge. Why was everyone freaking out? Are you on camera? Are you competing in a challenge? Then by definition, you are on the show. The benefit is in theory, the girl who got kicked off in that first episode should be able to tryout for the show again. What I greatly enjoyed though did not necessarily agree with, was Tim’s dressing down of Gretchen this week. Sure, she’s arrogant and hot headed, but to say that she bullied them into listening to her was unfair and from what we saw, untrue. She didn’t force anyone to do anything. We didn’t even see much arguing. And now, the cast that already hates her is bound to turn mean. And yeah, she’s pretty full of herself but her record did (at the time) kind of give her a right to be.

Weeds– Well, this show just continues to take strange turns. I know the writers think it’s a great idea to ditch everything and start over, but I miss the dynamic of the original seasons and the rest of the cast beyond the Botwins. And the whole mallet murder…yeah, I don’t even know what to do with that. Still enjoyable but perhaps straying father than I would like?

Leverage– This past week’s episode really showed off just how excellent the writing talent on this show is. Basically, we see the tale of how a specific dagger was “stolen” through the eyes of each of the characters before they had met and worked together. The brilliance of this was showing how each person’s memory was the same, but different. Little details, accents, etc all highlighted the individual characters, their abilities, and the overall dynamics. Even though they’ve turned to good, they still take pride in their abilities and their pasts. I for one would love to keep learning more about them. Though I don’t think they can quite utilize this specific format again (what are the odds that they all foiled each other on another heist?), I hope they find a way to use a variation of it. At the same time, I love how we’ve seen a number of episodes that highlight particular characters. Always strongest for me are the ones about Parker (since they’re the only ones, besides Nathan, where we delve into the characters’ pasts as well as their psyches), which we’ve had a few of lately. I hope to learn more about all of the characters. I will say that I miss Jeri Ryan on the show, not that I want her to replace Sophie, but maybe as an occasional guest spot or addition.

So You Think You Can Dance– Did you see it coming? Lauren Froderman beating out Kent Boyd? There’s only one reason this did not surprise me. My friend has a theory that the contestant who is set up as the clear winner from the beginning (of any reality show, not just SYTYCD) is virtually never the actual winner of the show. Perhaps the audience doesn’t like being forced into a decision or the contestant gets to cocky or just doesn’t show growth because they are already so strong, but for whatever reason, it seems to be true. (I can’t think of examples off the top of my head right now, but I’ll come back with them.) I for one am glad because Kent couldn’t seem to manage the few things the judges asked of him in terms of improvements whereas Lauren seemed to get better by the week without ever really misstepping.

Psych– I’m noticing one particular thing missing for me this season. Specifically, that is the heart of the show. Where are the emotional aspects? What happened to the will they won’t they dynamic of Juliette and Shawn for example? Can we learn more about Spencer’s mom or maybe Juliette and Lassiter’s pasts? It’s still entertaining but it’s not quite as solid as it used to be.

Rachel Zoe Project– What is with the obsession over Taylor? Whether or not she actually stole some clothes (which really just doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons), get over her. It’s like not a moment can go by without them mentioning her and usually bashing her. Yeah, she was a whiner, but are you really pretending she didn’t ever do any work? I’m not even sure why I enjoy the show but I do and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Ashley. The truth is, even without Taylor, there is still chaos, but it does seem to be more outer office chaos rather than internal (but then again, Rachel is healthy, which is a change, and she is not putting an employee in the unfair and awkward position of choosing who gets to go on a trip).

Rookie Blue– Another actress I’m enjoying these days is Missy Peregrym. I like that her face is actually expressive. You don’t need the camera to zoom in as close as possible in order to get a sense of how her character is feeling. Not every plot is excellent, but a lot of them are. It would be nice to get to know more about Gail because right now she’s ridiculous and I would love to know more about each of their pasts. I like watching the rookies blunder, I like things about training and learning. If anything, I’d like some flashbacks of them actually training.

Burn Notice– Aside from not believing that Fiona and Michael are as attractive as they’re meant to be, I’m not enjoying this show as much as I did in previous seasons. I think the main reason is that it feels like the same arguments are rehashed every episode and the emotional element that I mentioned was missing in Psych is also lacking in this one. I hope it gets better, because this new story with Jessie finally knowing the truth could be interesting.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager– Do you think Adrian is going to have a miscarriage? That’s the only other storyline that I think could be really interesting since they’ve lost the opportunity to do the abortion plot (not that I’m surprised). All the other storylines, meh. I’m glad to see a little less whining from Amy though.

Make It Or Break It: Rock Bottom

Lauren is furious with her father who insists there was nothing wrong with funding Emily. If there was nothing wrong, why did you keep it a secret? Because of this reaction. He says a little extra money won’t change things but she points out that the money funded the choreographer Lauren wanted. Emily comes to give back the money she could manage to return. There’s no forgiving Steve’s lies, Emily says.

Payson is still staring at the gold medal. There are pictures of Sasha up all over her room. You just know this is going to end badly. In the kitchen Kim we learn that Mark is not happy about the parents’ board news. She made the decision without her. In comes Payson all dancing and happy. Mark notices the gold medal and he seems to have the same reaction I did.

Austin and Kaylie arrive at about the same time at the Rock and Austin notices that Kaylie is not the most sure on her feet. And her hands are cold. (He’s with a fancy new car on loan from a potential sponsor.) Kaylie says the kiss meant nothing to her, just so he knows. Right…

Chloe is waiting for Lauren at the Rock to talk about the Carter-Lauren thing. Secrets do more harm than good. She can’t keep it a secret for them. Lauren thinks she’s trying to punish her. Chloe gives her an ultimatum, Lauren tells or she does. Like it will ever be that simple with Lauren.

Payson is doing her routine and thinks she’s getting the hang of it but Sasha says thought technically proficient she’s missing the connecting fiber. He wants to feel the deep emotion behind the experience. Payson doesn’t think she has deep emotions brewign anywhere.

Kim and Summer discuss parents’ board. Kim doesn’t think she can because of Mark. Summer says Steve has an agenda, this is what’s best for everyone. They’ll get rid of Sasha easily. Summer says her professional feelings aren’t coloring her personal ones. He’s the right coach.

Austin is filming himself work on parallel bars and Kaylie comes over to talk as always. Kaylie asks for him to share the training cam. If he’s done looking at himself. She agrees to let him film her doing vault. He notices that she’s all shaky as she sets up and unsteady when she’s done. (Cue dramatic music.)

Chloe and Steve meet up to talk. Emily feels like he made a fool out of her. Chloe thinks what he did was wrong but his reasons were sweet. So no break up for the time being. Emily can’t see it that was because of her hubris. (Emily, check it, that’s a fatal flaw.)

Carter and Lauren discuss Chloe’s plan to expose them. Carter wants to talk to Steve together. She points out that he won’t say he loves her. Hopefully he’ll respect them. Carter says otherwise, if Steve goes to Sasha, he’s out of the Rock for good. Summer comes to talk to Lauren who takes the opportunity to say she wants Summer and her dad to get married.

Emily on vault…and lands on her knees. Again, that spotty, inconsistent gymnast. Kaylie and Emily talk about the whole scholarship thing. The scholarship made her believe in herself and feel for real (Emily, that is not actual belief in yourself). Kaylie assures her she is.

Sasha has decided to work on Payson’s dance routine with paint on a canvas outside. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t come out very nicely because that is not actually how the routine works. He tells her to think of something that makes her feel, can you feel it? Now dance. Magically, it seems to work. She somehow switches paints throughout and creates a fluid picture (despite the jumps and such in the routine). She’s created a beautiful picture (in reality pre-painted by an artist, Ayla Kell says the actual painting she created was not so pretty).

Emily searches the cushions for change because she needs one more quarter to get on the bus to work. Chloe reveals that she’s still seeing Steve. Emily’s furious of course. She brings up all Chloe’s crappy guys. “Has it ever occurred to you to date someone whose daughter isn’t out to get me?” Emily says she should get a second job so she doesn’t have to carry the family (which is fair). As a matter of fact, she has a second job she’s starting tonight.

Mark and Kim discuss the ramifications of running for the parent’s board. If she loses? If Sasha gets fired? Payson intends to follow Sasha, he’s the only reason she hasn’t given up. She asks to borrow the car so she can go to Kaylie’s. Ellen Beals already sold Payson out, they need Sasha for balance. “Is it so wrong to save the Rock, it’s our home?” “I thought Minnesota was our home.” This speaks to an interesting and even bigger issue that may or may not come to light eventually. I hope it does.

Sasha and Summer are eating outside his trailer. He’s apparently only good at salads. They discuss the parents’ board of course and Sasha doesn’t want to discuss Steve. No more mention of he who shall not be mentioned. She goes in to get the wine and finds a book about Christianity. Awww. And to ruin the aww moment comes Payson with chicken and grilled veggies, and potatoes for him. She’s devastated. They try to cover by inviting her to join but Payson makes a lame cover and hurries out as quickly as possibly. Sasha doesn’t think anything of it other than “Payson’s onto my poor eating habits.” Summer thinks it’s sweet that she’s fond of him. They’ve been through a lot together. Summer takes the opportunity to say Grace for the kind, beautiful, thoughtful man in her life. Sorry Pay…

Payson and Sasha are working again and Sasha applauds. He’s still looking for who she is. He wants STORY! Take everyone on a journey. Sasha you’re pushing things here. Her favorite story is Romeo and Juliette. As he talks about the story you see her beaming in her love for him.

Austin asks Kaylie to go for a drive to give her opinion of the car. She agrees.

Carter wants to come over later to talk to Steve. He cares about Lauren, not just about getting kicked out of the Rock. He loves her. She doesn’t look all that thrilled to hear that. Lauren sees Summer and asks to talk to her. She reveals her relationship with Carter and says Chloe knew about it the whole time. She even said Chloe encouraged it, even took took her to the doctor for the pill. Summer is shocked, Chloe knew and didn’t tell her father! Lauren asks Summer to tell him, you don’t have to mention Chloe. Summer can’t promise that though.

Austin pulls up by the water and Kaylie looks all grumpy. He pulls out some food and a blanket to have a picnic. But Kaylie’s not hungry. But you worked all day in the gym. He ignores her and keeps dishing out food. She sits rather uncomfortably. She says she just ate lunch and plans to eat dinner with her parents. Come on, one bite won’t kill you. He says she had lunch five hours ago and had a grueling practice. He’s concerned. She hesitates and takes a bite to prove him wrong. Happy now? She insists he take her back to the gym. He does, but not without some last words of wisdom. His sister was a gymnast (trying to follow in his footsteps) with an eating disorder and it nearly killed her. No one ever suspected that for her. It ruined her gymnastics, her life, and almost their family. She’s ok today but he worries about the tomorrows. Kaylie apologizes for her reaction. She’s been thinking about her eating and training, but it stops today, she promises. She knows he’s right. Why does he care? He doesn’t know, there’s just something about her. He leans in for another kiss. NO BOYS COMMADANT CRUZ!

Chloe finds Steve looking very unhappy. He found out about Lauren and Carter’s relationship and Chloe’s knowledge. Chloe says she was going to tell if Lauren didn’t. Summer told her. What if it had been Emily? What if he knew something damaging and didn’t tell her right away. He feels like he can’t trust her, Lauren is the most precious thing he has. If he can’t trust Chloe with her well-being, when can he trust her. Chloe thought it would be better coming from Lauren, it was an error in judgment. He says he can’t forgive her. But she forgave him! She gives back the key and runs out. Lauren was listening in on the conversation and she doesn’t look as pleased as you’d expect.

Emily comes home to find Brian in the dark. Bill is unpaid. She begins to rant about how she’s sick of things but stops when she notices that Brian’s arm’s tingling. His anti-seizure meds weren’t refilled and Chloe is out at her new job. Emily takes charge and heads to the pharmacy to get him more pills. (So will we ever find out what happened to him?) She’s told it will be $200. Emily doesn’t understand, it’s a $15 copay. It’s a mistake but there’s nothing he can do. He can’t give her just two pills for the time being (call your doctor dude, they can talk to the pharmacist to make an exception, it’s been done). The pharmacist steps back to double check so she grabs the pills and runs.

Carter arrives and Lauren lets him in. She tells him her dad’s not around, Summer already told Steve. Carter can’t believe she told Summer. What if Summer told Sasha? Lauren thinks he only told her he loved her because he was afraid to get kicked out of the Rock. She’s not stupid. She gave herself to him but still he couldn’t tell her he loved her, whereas he fell in love with Kaylie right away.

Kim and Mark sit tensely, trying to make amends. Mark comes back to feel like they’re a different family he returns to. Kim says he’s in their hearts. Is Sasha worth “falling on the sword for?” She trusts him with Payson who is going through so much. She’d be devastated to lose a coach she feels so safe with. (ANOTHER coach.) Mark says she can run with his full support. They’re so cute.

Sasha films Payson as she does her floor. Payson’s dancing seems to have come along and really flow. “That was it!” A hug and…a kiss from Payson. Which he automatically repels. Mortified, she runs out.

Brian looks better, just a headache now. They caught it in time. (Apparently the medicine makes you better ever before you take the pills.) The neighbors lent them light. Where’s mom? There’s a knock at the door. It’s the cops to arrest Emily.

Kaylie writes in her journal, she’s eaten a whole 120 calories today. She comes back in and gets on the treadmill for another session. Some promise, eh Kay?

Make It Or Break It: What Are You Made Of?

More exercise for Kaylie, along with the other girls. The national team Rock girls are working out while Payson is doing weights. She tells them she doesn’t want their pity. They’re getting ready for the last national team practice before picking the world team. And Marty’s coming back. Kaylie says she’s ok with that. Payson has ballet class while they have their practice, which she is not even remotely excited for.

Summer and Sasha commiserate on Ellen Beals’ supply demands for the practice. Kim is still furious with Ellen Beals for screwing Payson over. They have to suck up to her so that the National Committee will like the Rock more. He may not trust Ellen but he trusts Sasha as coach.

Lauren tells Chloe not to tell Steve about catching her and Carter in bed. Lauren pulls out the “I don’t have a mom and can’t talk about this stuff with my dad.” Chloe insists she think about all the precautions, etc. Lauren seems sweet and genuine but you’re just waiting for something to happen. Steve is happy to see them getting along AND he gives Chloe a key to the house.

Emily is all miserable (the girls keep reminding her of how poorly she’s done) when Chloe gets home. There’s no hot water again. Emily’s mean again because she’s super stressed. Chloe’s understanding though.

In comes the national team. Kaylie suggests welcoming their teammates but Kelly Parker points out that the Rock girls are rebels and the national team couldn’t care for them. Well, at least there are three of them. Ellen Beals thinks Kelly is the best because she”s the most consistent. Marty stands up for Kaylie. Ellen says Kaylie’s becoming a controlled gymnast, as is Lauren. But Emily Kmetko…she breaks the rules over the place. She won’t become a refined, elite, obedient gymnast. Emphasis on obedient. Marty still thinks she has it in her but Beals is not so sure. Conditioning is first for practice. Kelly smack talks Kaylie while in handstand mode. Another girl does the same to Emily but when she says she won’t talk to her, Beals catches her talking and makes her do another set.

Payson’s teacher compares her to the hunchback of notre dame, which is interesting considering how straight she stands (gymnasts generally stand quite straight). It is fun to see Ayla Kell do ballet/fumble through ballet. She does a good job of making Payson look inept and awkward. Payson is told she is moving like cement. Payson says she’s just trying to fix the artistry in her gymnastics but her teacher is not interested in gymnastics–there’s no artistry there!

Marty and Ronnie have an awkward catching up. She reveals her pending divorce and Marty feels bad. She says their fling isn’t the reason for it. Marty says he loved her, it wasn’t a fling for him. He still does. He won’t cross that line again. Well. That’s interesting. She doesn’t know what to say. Most of me likes him.

Ellen Beals makes Emily do extra ropes exercises and then asks Kaylie if she’s been upping her game. Kaylie reveals the move she’s been working on. Beals is thrilled while Marty and Sasha are not so happy. Sasha tries to talk to Ellen but she doesn’t care about his opinion. Ellen wants to know why he brought Austin to the Rock when Emily was caught with him after curfew. The best line by Beals: “sorry I didn’t tell you Belov but the girls trust me to keep their confidences.” I don’t think the girls trust her for anything. Then she kicks Sasha out of the gym. Can she even do that? He does go though, probably just to keep the peace. The girls are none-to-pleased to see him go.

Emily works on beam and Ellen continues to deride her. Arms straight like when you carry those pizzas around. Stay in the moment, I know that’s hard for someone like you! It’s so inappropriate that for one moment my dislike of Emily is beat out by sympathy. There is nothing more pathetic than a grown woman bullying a teenage girl (even if she looks too old to actually be a teenager).

“Since when did you get creepy Madonna arms?” Kaylie is asked by Kelly Parker. So glad she’s back! (It’s tough to really hold this storyline because Kaylie doesn’t really look much thinner now than she did before. (Though sometimes they do a good job with the cameras to make her look thinner.) Kelly realizes what’s going on and tells her she’s hurting herself. I love how Kaylie says “you don’t understand because you’re not the national champion.” Wasn’t Kelly national champion last year? That was certainly the implication that the show gave last season. Kelly sounds genuine when she says she understand the pressure to stay small and will keep her secret but that she should be careful. Not sure that’s a good thing though, since she probably should tell anyway.

End of practice and Emily still gets double sprints.

Payson tells Sasha she was humiliated at practice and it’s easy for him to be inspirational when he doesn’t have to do it. “And another thing, who eats cereal for dinner!”

Kaylie tells her mom that Kelly is trying to “game” her. Ronnie thinks she’s just jealous.

Emily whines about Ellen being mean to her and Chloe responds with a comment on her clothes. “Mom this is serious, sometimes I feel like a big fake and everyone’s going to find me out.” Funny you should say that Emily, as you are an impostor (or more accurately, your storyline is) and we have all found you out. (Clearly my sympathy doesn’t extend far enough to forgive a plotline that is impossible.) Chloe says you can’t fake your way into all the things she managed. And what about her private sports endowment group? They chose you! Mhmmm. Chloe stops at a nice house that she plans to buy with Emily’s scholarship money. (Didn’t they just run out of like hot water or something?) Emily will even get her own room! Watch her imagine it…in comes her little brother. She was always planning to get them a house when she made it but everything is happening so fast. All of it in a year. She was goof at dreaming it, but living it…she feels like she’s under attack from all sides. Too much pressure, what if she lets them down? She doesn’t want to disappoint him. He says she’s his hero, she can do things he can’t because she’s got heart. (Weird pep talk.) It’s not just him who believes in her. The Endowman group… Something funny, he’s her hero too.

Steve and Ellen talk about the need for getting rid of Sasha (he’s sure he will be head of the president’s board). Ellen pretends it’s a meeting about Lauren when Chloe barges in. Chloe thinks he’s cheating on her. He’s just using influence with Ellen to get her to support the girls. You told her to be supportive of Emily too?

Day two of practice. Now they’re doing routines. Only ten go onto trials for the worlds team, because it totally makes sense that you should cut two girls. She also kicks out the parents.

Payson is at ballet class when Sasha comes in. He says it’s easy for him to give advice without doing it so here he comes. She says he’s officially the worst student. He’s here for Payson every step of the way. They’ll get there together. She calls on Payson to show him how it’s done. Which makes me think she just likes having someone to pick on.

Marty is supportive of Emily and Beals does not look happy. Emily lands on her ankle and rolls it. Ellen wants her to begin again and Marty wants her to take a moment. “What would happen if she rolled it in the Olympics? Would we say take a break or do it again?” Marty calls Ellen out on her bullying and says she’s trying to get Emily cut. Ellen says she’s dangerous because she’s streaky. She’ll do poorly five days in a row and then suddenly do well and take the rightful place of a girl who “listens to authority and follows the rules.” (Look Ellen, your two points are actually fair ones, to a degree. And those are things they should take into account when deciding on the final team. But, you should still let her compete. If she always pulls it out on competition days, that’s something important too.) Marty says he’s the coach and he doesn’t want Kaylie to do the difficult move and he wants her to give Emily a break. Ellen doesn’t want him to get girly. “Girly? Maybe you should get a little more girly.” Ok Marty, maybe not your best move. But he does put his foot down about this obsession with getting perfectly obedient girls in order to be the best. “It’s not your will that will make the best gymnasts, it’s their heart.” The committee comes in and Ellen excuses herself to talk to them.

Chloe and Summer discuss Emily’s standing with Ellen. Chloe reveals Steve’s connections with Ellen. Summer is not as reassured by this as Chloe is.

Done with her meeting, she calls Marty over to inform him that he is fired. Kelly looks incredibly upset which is interesting. He takes the opportunity to encourage Emily one last time. She is “it.” (If she wins gold at any point, I will be pissed.) Beals announces that she will be taking over as coach…that seems like a good idea. Does she even have coaching experience? How does the committee not think this is sketchy?

Vault first. Kelly, Lauren, and Kaylie do it and then Ellen stops Emily from doing it. She wants her to do beam instead. Kaylie tries to put in that vault is one of Emily’s best events (uh huh, since when? what happened to that fear we never dealt with?) and beam is her worst. She performs it well nonetheless. (It doesn’t make sense that she wouldn’t do all because for Worlds, they choose gymnasts for each of the events, few gymnasts are equally good in all events and beam is never an event where they are lacking in talent.)

Payson meanwhile is reading Sasha’s autobiography with that look on her face that tells you “uh oh.”

Beals tells Lauren she’s set and then gives Lauren an envelope with the endowment group stuff for Emily. Lauren of course opens it, sees what it is, and rubs it in Emily’s face. Emily storms out and Chloe runs after her. She thinks Chloe knew, but she realizes Chloe didn’t. (After all the emphasis on this endowment, you knew this was coming today.) Chloe tells her to get back inside. It’s easy to think you are going to make it when everything is easy. Do you believe in you?

Beals wants Kaylie to perform her new move. She says it isn’t competition ready but it’s just to show she’s working on it. Funny thing though, we don’t actually know which move it is. Kelly steps in to point out that Kaylie is getting to thin but Beals dismisses it. It’s Emily’s turn now and she’s missing. Emily comes in all “I’m here and I feel great.” She’s a little snippy with Ellen which, though deserved is not the best move in front of the whole committee. That was the longest tumbling pass I’ve ever seen. Is there even enough room for all that? Great job though.

Payson made Sasga Romanian stuffed peppers, based on something she read in his book. He suggests she sit to eat with him.

The top ten are announced. Kaylie Cruz, number one. Kaylie Parker number two. Lauren Tanner, number four….and finally, Emily Kmetko in number ten. Two weeks for the final decisions for worlds.

Payson looks sad about not being inside but Sasha says what she’s doing will get her there. He gives her his golf medal to hold until she can replace it with her own.

All come out thrilled but Lauren is too angry about what happened.

Emily wants Chloe to break up with Steve because she can’t trust him. She wants to give back the money. Chloe isn’t sure. Emily knows what she has to do.

Summer, Sasha, and Kim discuss Beals and Summer reveals Steve’s ploy. They decide Kim should run for the parents’ board. She’s the most trustworthy parent in the gym. Remember when Steve brought him in?

Lauren is crying and tearing up a photo. Kaylie is still checking out her body. Payson puts on the gold medal. Emily is at the shack, starting work again. Without the endowment, not even working at the shack could keep her in the rock from what we know but you know, this show has never been about consistencies.

Do you think this is the last we will see of Marty? It’s weird that Emily was the one he felt most protective of when he had zero relationship with her as compared to the other girls.

Make It Or Break It: Party Gone Out Of Bounds

I know that I have been completely remiss about my recapping duties. August has been my month of travel (Florida, California, Illinois, to name a few places), making it difficult to write anything. But have no fear, I’m back and picking up–more or less–where I left off.

I’ve also successfully turned another friend into a MIOBI fan, making for an incredibly successful visit.

Lauren’s sleeping alone! She’s got no messages from Carter either. She catches Chloe sneaking out of the house and uses the opportunity to be mean to Chloe AND lie to her dad about sleeping with anyone.

Kaylie is still exercising too much. If she wants to weigh less, maybe she shouldn’t wear sneakers when she steps on the scale. She eats a whole half a banana.

Chloe tries to pretend she was home all night but the kids already know she’s sleeping around and give her the safe sex talk instead.

Summer and Sasha are awkward and kind of cute. Sasha finally asks her out “to avoid any more missed opportunities of greatness.” They agree to keep their dating secret though.

Kaylie wants to do early morning running to give them extra conditioning to edge out the rest of the national team. Lauren doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Austin invites the girls to come but Kaylie says they’re not coming. He says Olympians will be there, which Lauren and Payson perk up at. Lauren says she’ll be there. Payson wants to meet Shawn White. Kaylie says that the last party they went to got out of control. Payson points out that Kaylie was the one who got out of control. Sasha wants the girls to take a day off this weekend to be ready for the grueling week coming up. Kaylie says Sasha is just testing them. She also points out that Lauren needs to raise her difficulty, Emily is inconsistent, and Payson is struggling with Level 7 and 8 skills–seriously Kaylie, insensitive much? It’s her job as team captain.

Summer tells Kim that Sasha is taking her out to dinner, but she shouldn’t tell Sasha she told her. Then Sasha comes in and tells her and says not to tell Summer he told her. Kim doesn’t want to get involved though, since they’re working together.

Lauren asks Carter what happened. He didn’t think she’d want him after their fight. Her bad behavior is a turnoff. So Lauren gets snippy, naturally. That seems like the best way to get him on your side.

Chloe and Steve give the safe sex talk for the sake of the young audience. STIs instead of STDs nowadays, by the way. Steve suggests a romantic dinner. It’s their three month anniversary so he made a reservation for them at…the same place Sasha plans to take Summer.

Austin tells Emily his feelings are hurt that she isn’t coming to his party. Emily says she can’t. Kaylie tells him to stop pressuring her girls. The old Kaylie wasn’t national champ or team captain. They bet that the girls will go to his party, loser cleans mats.

Kaylie suggests a Worlds watching party and sleepover. Emily can’t come because she has to help Brian. Lauren tells Kaylie she thinks Emily is really planning to go to the party.

Chloe comes to talk to Lauren to explain she fell asleep. Chloe says she ran Summer off but Lauren says that’s not the case, Steve dumped her because she came first. Lauren then goes to tell Summer that if Chloe and Steve can have sex, why can’t she? Summer says Lauren committed to wait until marriage for the next time. She tries to convince Summer to get back together with Steve.

Payson suggests that Kaylie is overtraining. She doesn’t want to get a serious injury and have to start all over. Payson says the old Kaylie would be dying to go. Kaylie thinks Eimly is lying so she calls Emily. Brian answers the phone and says she just went to the store. She thinks Brian is lying, especially because her cell went to voicemail. They should go check. She’s just going to shower and change. Because she’s sweaty! Not because she’s trying to impress anyone or anything.

Date time! Summer feels guilty about fibbing about not seeing anyone. They agree not to talk about their exes. In comes Steve and Chloe. Whoops.

Really with those sunglasses Payson? Does anyone believe she would own something like that?

Kaylie and Payson get to the party (Payson is in purple, as per usual and Kaylie’s sunglasses are pink–why doesn’t Emily get a color). Payson doesn’t intend to come in if all she plans to do is sneak around. Inside Lauren is taking advantage of a hot tub and boys in bathing suits. Kaylie tries to peak in but it’s hard to see so she goes to climb over a wall and promptly falls into a thing of garbage, which Austin of course sees. To point out, this is so irresponsible, if there had been no dumpster, she might have ended her career right then.

Summer and Sasha are trying to hide. Chloe thought Steve and Summer had a mutual parting of ways. Steve reveals that Summer dumped him. But he assures her, he’s over her. Sasha sent over some alcohol for them and tells Summer to trust him. Chloe and Steve wonder if they’re on a date. Chloe can’t believe he went for Summer over her. And Sasha’ plan…it’s a business meeting! He called Kim over to help with their cover. So much for their date.

Austin passes Kaylie some alcohol and she accepts it. She claims it was to prove that the fun loving Kaylie is still alive and well. Is Emily here? No, she said she couldn’t come. Lauren sees her and takes a picture, which she sens to Emily who receives it as she returns from the store. Emily’s tempted to go just to spite Kaylie anyway. The text from Lauren clinches it. Lauren meanwhile confronts Kaylie. In comes Payson, who gets starstruck by Shawn White. Kaylie thinks they should go but Payson wants to meet the two time Olympic gold medalist. Kaylie is pissed that everyone keeps bringing up her kegstand when Carter cheated on her with Lauren. He asked why he chose Lauren and he said it was because Lauren wanted him and Kaylie wanted control. In comes Emily to confront Kaylie. She says all Kaylie does is control them. Kaylie turns to Payson for support. As former team captain, tell them what a captain should do. “A leader is supposed to lead by example. She councils but she doesn’t command.” So Kaylie leaves. Payson wants to meet Bodi Miller first though. Emily and Lauren get cajoled into twister, winner makes the loser do whatever she wants.

Summer and Chloe have an awkward chat in the bathroom. Chloe has a scarf from Steve. Summer has a drawer full of them, it’s his go to gift. Summer has an issue of Chloe sleeping under a man’s roof when he has a teenage daughter there. She’s sending a message to his daughter and her own. Is that the example she wants to set? (Yet another Summer lecture.)

Kaylie is upset. Austin says she’s under a lot of pressure. The pressure to stay is worse than the pressure to get there. Everyone is trying to take your place. Many champs don’t care about their teammates as long as they secure their own places. She tries, especially to look the other way when the girl who she looked at like a sister talks in detail every day about the only man she ever loved. (For me, this is Kaylie’s best moment. It is the one time I really feel for her.) Austin tells her to live a little and gives her a kiss.

Emily loses at twister (as they do ridiculous gymnastics moves that make no sense for the game). She gets to choose what Emily has to do. She’s about to choose something mean when she spots Carter and instead asks to be forgiven. In comes Kaylie to warn them about the cop car that just pulled up. Lauren runs up to get her purse. Payson doesn’t want to leave her and suggests they cause a distraction. They begin doing flips for everyone, giving Lauren a chance to escape. Boxed in, they end up diving into the lake to get back. Hope none of them had their money or cell phones on them.

End of the awkward Summer and Sasha date. Maybe being discrete is a bad idea. Is it really better for Lauren to think there’s a chance for Summer and Steve. Sasha points out that not everyone can live up to her high values. Sasha does intend to respect hers though. Summer wants to kiss him. (Back when we were all ruminating on who Sasha might end up with, I hadn’t really considered Summer, but they are kind of growing on me.)

Why can’t their parties be normal? If they want to go to the Olympics, they can’t have normal things. “Like friends,” says Kaylie. “We’re not friends?” Payson asks. Kaylie thinks it’s complicated because they’re competitors. What are friends beside people who have things in common. They have a dream in common, isn’t that a better bond? They discuss Kaylie’s recent drill sergeant mode. She’s just trying to be the leader Payson was. She was so strong and sure of herself. Sasha said she was responsible for everyone’s failures. Payson says they’re all responsible for their own failures. So, they throw the promise rings away, since it’s only a promise you can make to yourself. Kaylie says she will lead by example and not try to control them. They link arms and you almost, almost forget that they all hate Lauren.

Chloe and Steve are having an intimate evening. Chloe doesn’t think they should be “carrying on.” Casual sex is a bad example for the kids. t should be for people in love and exclusive. Steve says he is exclusive and he hopes she is too. How about carrying on at a hotel from now on? Chloe suggests fried ice cream, she’ll make it, she just has to get the wok from the attic. Where she discovers Lauren and Carter…